Book Review: Struggles of child detectives

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

The world is full of precocious child detectives like the Scooby gang, Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown.  But in Meddling Kids, the children grow up and don't spend their summers solving mysteries together anymore. They struggle with adult problems such as alcoholism, anger management, and depression. And sometimes they lose that struggle. They drift apart and never mention the last case they worked on – the one where they just maybe caught the wrong guy.

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That was in 1977, now it is 1990 and those former child detectives can't live with the nightmares anymore. Andi, the tomboy, Kerri, the genius and Nate, the nerd, are all plagued by that long-ago summer. They resolve that they have to reunite the surviving members of the  Blyton Summer Detective Club and go back to the bucolic mining town in Oregon where  they spent many happy summers in and figure out what really happened in that last case, or die trying to. Probably the latter.

Meddling Kids is a fast-paced mix of humour and horror, with likeable characters and deliciously scary situations. It does get dark at times, dealing with topics of mental illness, suicide and the possibility of the world being destroyed by eldritch horrors. It's not a kids book, but if you were a fan of any child detective novels as a kid, there will be a lot to love here. And even if you weren't it's quite an adventure.

Dethe Elza is a Digital Services Technician at the Brighouse Branch of the Richmond Public Library. He just finished writing over 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and looks forward to reading again.

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